HISTORY OF THE CLUB
Historically, the conception of the idea to start the now Kegites’ Club International (initially known as “Palm wine Drunkard klub”) started at a palm wine drinking shop/‘joint’ at the then University College (now University of Ibadan (UI). However, the particular spot where the shop was constructed is located in the region given out by the University first as the temporary site for the University of Ife (UNIFE (now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife and later, to establish the Polytechnic, Ibadan.
Typical of any African man that likes to drink for pleasure and at leisure time, there is always the natural flow (like River Nile) of songs (usually native or traditional) after a few sips of Palm wine commonly called Holy Water by members of the club. The songs in most cases, is usually backed up with matching beats that can either be provided by the singer himself or by any other person sitting right beside the singer and enjoining it. Beats of this nature are commonly made from just anything around. Men usually use their hands (palm) on materials such as Gourd (Akèrèngbè) in which the wine is dispensed for customers to drink; the wooden bench or log on which the drinkers sit; a piece of rock on any type of metal or any other two objects that can be struck together to produce sound.
When they (the drinkers) realized that they all share the same thing (time of pleasure) together, they unanimously resolved to making it a routine to meet at specific times in the same place and a group named The Palm wine Drunkard Klub was formed with motto: Palm wine, the Basis of African Unity and World Tradition. The members of the club talk in slang and in codes communicating with one another and signal membership recognition to themselves by raising up the index finger.
Owing to the fact that the early morning members of the club were students of the UNIFE, when the students moved to the permanent site in Ile Ife, the members named the school (UNIFE), the WORLD HEADQUARTER of the club. The question then was: If UNIFE is the World Headquarters, what about UNIBADAN, on whose land the first meeting center/joint was built? The name NATIONAL HEADQUARTER was given to the UNIBADAN. Since the first palm wine selling shop (or better still, meeting place) commonly called the UPPERMOST SHRINE by the members of the club, was located at the portion now occupied by the Polytechnic of Ibadan (Poly Ibadan), Poly Ibadan has since then being referred to as the MOTHER SHRINE (The shrine that gave birth to other shrines)
The then members of the club included the Eternal Life Patrons (ELPs) Late Obafemi Awolowo and Late Tai Solarin both of blessed memories. While the club Grand Patrons includes two-time former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo,GCFR and The 51st Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II and other notable Nigerians.
The first world chief is PROFESSOR SEGUN ADESINA. He was coroneted in 1962 and reign till 1966. He died on 16 January,2015 aged 74 years.
The then palm wine drunkards club formed around 1962 has since then undergone various kinds of transition. In 1968 for instance, the first woman member Òpékès (men are Òpákàs) by the members of the club) LSF DUKE AJAY joined the club. A modification was made to the name of the club around this time because members feel being mocked by their non-members (commonly referred to as Komrados)’ populace and the name of the club was then, used to be written as The Palm wine Drinkers Klub in lieu of the original Palm wine Drunkards Klub.
In 1986 during the reign of Chief Anthony Uzodima Ogidi, the then AB (incumbent) Chief of the club at the World Headquarters, in Ilé -Ifè, when the name was again changed to the Kegites’ Club of Nigeria with University of Ife still as the World Headquarters (till date) and the University of Ibadan, adopted as the National Headquarters. The motto of the club as adopted in 1986 is ‘Unity in diversity’ with Discipline as the watchword.
The Kegites’s aims and objectives as of then and till now that are of African Origin.
Of all clubs and associations in the Tertiary institutions in Nigeria, Kegites’ club is the one that the members are most faithful and most highly disciplined. Owing to the fact that no man on earth can walk without shaking the head members of the club do make one kind of mistake or the other from one time to the other. Minor offences could cause the members to be suspended for specific period of time and major ones, De-Kegation (Dis-membership).
The name Kegites’ club was coined out from the fact that palm wine is kept in kegs and the motto as Unity in Diversity. The new motto of the club was adopted because there have been several Ilyasis all over the nation. The symbol of unity being the palm tree with numerous fronds branching from it but still remains in unison. The Club existed together as one ‘supremost comradium’ with branches in almost all institutions of higher learning in Nigeria.
The Federal College of Agriculture, Akure was the first chapter (Ilya) to be formed (received Keg of Office) in 1974 and since then, there have been over one hundred (100) Ilyasis in Nigeria and two overseas Ilyasis in Stratford, UK (Ilya du Queen) and Chandigerh, India (Ilya du Indi). The club is reputed in higher institutions all over Nigeria for her large numerical membership values and for being the club with the greatest number of admirers.
THE GRAND COUNCIL
The grand council shall consist of the following officers.
1. The Chief
2. The Elder
3. The Parrot
4. The Cowries
5. The Purse
6. The Feature
7. The Assistant feature
8. The Transporter
9. Provost Marshall
10. Adjutant Marshal
12. Commissioner for special duties (SPEDU)
13. Le pour/Tapper
16. Director of Songis
There are more than 100 ILYASIS (clubs) across major institution in the country and outside Nigeria.
The club is reputed to have the largest members and admirers in the tertiary institutions of Nigeria.
ILYA OUTSIDE NIGERIA
1. Ilya du queen (EAST LONDON UNIVERSITY, LONDON)
1. Ilya du Punjab (PUNJAB UNIVERSITY, CHANDIGARH)
UNITED STATE OF AMERICA
1. Ilya du windy (University of Chicago, Illinois)